Precious Assumptions

If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true or false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

from The Panoplia Prophetica

Be warned…you can be immersed in the Babel Problem, which is the label we give to the omnipresent dangers of achieving wrong combinations from accurate information.

The Mentat Handbook

Both of the above-quoted paragraphs come from the original 1976 hardback edition of Frank Herbert’s novel Children of Dune (pages 250 and 259 respectively). I’ve been criticized before for quoting from this series, since Dune and the indigenous people, the “Freemen” are based on Arab tribal culture, which some consider offensive. I apologize if anyone is distracted or dismayed by my choice of literature, but I think these quotes say something very important.

For the past few days, I’ve been monitoring the conversation on Derek Leman’s recent blog post Responding (Belatedly) to Gene. This is a debate, primarily between Derek, a person who has converted specifically within the context of Messianic Judaism and subsequently was educated as a Rabbi, and Gene Shlomovich, a Jewish person who was previously Messianic but who exited the Messianic framework and is currently affiliated with normative Orthodox Judaism (I apologize if these descriptions are inaccurate and am quite willing to be corrected).

The discussion between them is whether or not Jesus is the Messiah, whether or not the Messiah must be God, and whether or not it is proper for people to worship the human Jesus as a God. It’s actually a lot more complicated, but I don’t want to replicate all of the details here.

There have been plenty of other people who have chimed in with their opinions in the comments section of Derek’s blog. I choose not to participate because I don’t think I can contribute anything within that particular context. One more voice, more or less, isn’t going to change the outcome.

At the start of his blog post, Derek did wisely state:

I do not expect logical arguments and text-based discussions will in and of themselves persuade me to abandon faith in the divinity of Messiah or Gene to take up faith again in Yeshua. Such a naive view of dialogue overlooks two things: the complexity of persons (we are not logic computers) and the nature of evidence (what we believe about almost any topic, like which brand of automobile is best, is rarely just logic).

In other words, don’t expect the final, definitive statement on this important matter to issue forth from this conversation. It won’t.

But it does get people to thinking. It got me to thinking but not necessarily about the specific topic at hand.

Actually, this thought occurred to me last Sunday at church. I don’t know what inspired it exactly. I think I was mentally comparing general revelation, that is the revealing of God in the nature of our created universe, and specific revelation, that is, the Bible.

I expect general and specific revelation to be complementary rather than competing. But when someone tells me that the universe is ten to twelve thousand years old max, and all of our scientific observations tell us that the universe is reliably estimated to be about 13 1/2 billion years old, that’s nowhere near any sort of agreement. And that puts the Bible (or certain interpretations of it) at odds with the observable universe, and all sort of Christian and Jewish rationalizations have to be created to explain away tons and tons of evidence that all point to an old universe and an old earth.

Most of those rationalizations make otherwise highly intelligent and educated people sound kind of dumb.

More than 1,700 years in advance, the author of the Zohar predicted a revolution of science and technology around the year 1840. There he describes the fountains of wisdom bursting forth from the ground and flooding the earth—all in preparation for an era when the world shall be filled with wisdom and knowledge of the Oneness of its Creator.

From this we know that the true purpose of all technology and modern science is neither convenience nor power, but a means to discover G‑dliness within the physical world.

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“Scientific Revolution”

Curious Tales of TalmudSome of my Christian acquaintances might have a problem with me quoting from Jewish sources, and the vast majority of them would have trouble with anything to do with the Zohar (and I don’t think the Zohar is nearly as old as advertised above). Nevertheless, Rabbi Freeman is saying something important. He’s saying that the observable universe reveals God, and that scientific pursuits fill the world with “wisdom and knowledge of the Oneness of its Creator.”

Some people relate to their religion as if it contains the complete totality of all knowledge of God and complete comprehension of everything in the Bible, and based on that, they believe their conclusions on complicated theological, doctrinal, social, political, and scientific issues are all correct 100% of the time. Other people relate to science and technology in exactly the same way. Both types of people are wrong.

Stars ejected by the black hole have a different composition from that of the newly discovered stars. The 20 new stars have the same makeup as normal disk stars do, so the team doesn’t think these newly discovered stars came from the galaxy’s core, halo or some other exotic place.

“None of these hypervelocity stars come from the center, which implies there is an unexpected new class of hypervelocity star — one with a different ejection mechanism.”

Precise calculations require measurements taken over decades, so some of the stars may not actually travel as fast as they appear to, Palladrino said. To minimize errors, the team performed several statistical tests.

“Although some of our candidates may be flukes, the majority are real,” she said.

What might have provided the needed galaxy-fleeing kick, however, is still a mystery.

-by Nola Taylor Redd, January 27, 2014
“Strange, Hypervelocity Stars Get Ejected from the Milky Way”

I love astronomy. The first time I was an undergrad, I took a few classes and fell in love. Unfortunately, my total ineptitude in math prevented me from pursuing astronomy as a degree and a career. But I still like to peruse the popular astronomy publications from time to time.

As you can see, the universe still has plenty of surprises available, and new observations can challenge the assumptions and hypotheses built on previous observations. Astronomy in particular, and all of the scientific disciplines in general, are undergoing a constant state of growth. This isn’t to say that science, which is just a formal method of observation, and scientists, who after all, are only human beings, are perfect and that bias, for a variety of reasons, is incapable of entering into perceptions and conclusions, but such conclusions cannot or at least on principle, should not be considered forever static, immutable, and settled for all time.

ReformationNow let’s turn to what we understand about the Bible. In Christianity, although continual research is being conducted into the New Testament as well as the rest of the scriptures, many believers, including clergy and even some scholars, behave as if all is said and done. Much of what the normative Protestant church believes today hasn’t changed much since the Reformation, and some of what we believe today, even though Protestants think they are wholly separated from Catholic influence, has actually been inherited, almost unchanged, from the very first days of the Eastern and Western (Roman) churches of the first few centuries of Christian history.

Since the Protestant Reformation (c. 1517), studies of Paul’s writings have been heavily influenced by Lutheran and Reformed views that are said to ascribe the negative attributes that they associated with sixteenth-century Roman Catholicism to first-century Judaism. These Lutheran and Reformed views on Paul’s Writings are called the “old perspective” by adherents of the “New Perspective on Paul”. Thus, the “new perspective” is an attempt to lift Paul’s letters out of the Lutheran/Reformed framework and interpret them based on what is said to be an understanding of first-century Judaism, taken on its own terms. (Within this article, “the old perspective” refers specifically to Reformed and Lutheran traditions, especially the views descended from John Calvin and Martin Luther, see also Law and Gospel.)

Paul, especially in his Epistle to the Romans, advocates justification through faith in Jesus Christ over justification through works of the Law. In the old perspective, Paul was understood to be arguing that Christians’ good works would not factor into their salvation, only their faith. According to the new perspective, Paul was questioning only observances such as circumcision and dietary laws, not good works in general.

“New Perspective on Paul”
-from Wikipedia

This “new perspective” isn’t popular among many Christian NT scholars precisely because it challenges the old assumptions, but it’s important to remember that the original assumptions that were the foundation of the development of early church theology, doctrine, and tradition, were motivated by a strong attempt to separate the Gentile church from Jews, Judaism, and Jewish origins. Those original assumptions, based on Supersessionism, also known as Replacement Theology or Fulfillment Theology, were completely anti-Semitic and derived less from an objective study of the canonized or soon to be canonized texts about the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, and more on a heavy bias toward burying any connection to the persecuted normative Judaism of that day, and establishing that God, through Jesus, killed dead the Torah, the Temple, the Priesthood, and replaced them with rituals, traditions, and doctrine that resembled the practices of the church’s Jewish forefathers not in the least.

Unfortunately, plenty of Jewish people have been buried in bloody graves as a direct result of the church’s requirement to demonize Jewish people and Judaism in order to establish and elevate the “Goyishe Christ.”

I think it’s time for a change. I think it’s time for some new observations. Who knows? Maybe like certain astronomers have recently reported relative to hypervelocity stars, we’ll also find something unexpected. Astronomers observe a universe that is all around us and that has been all around us for over 13 billion years. You’d think that even in the mere few centuries we’ve been seriously studying the stars, we’d pretty much know all that there is to know by now.

sky-above-you-god1Except the universe is vast and our first stumbling efforts into astronomy have been slowly improving over time. Our methods and techniques for observation and information gathering and processing are becoming more accurate, bringing into focus a greater understanding of the mysterious universe that people have been staring into since man and woman stood together in Eden. Thus we continually collect data about the observable universe and add to, amend, or outright change our knowledge based on each new finding in order to sharpen our vision.

But it’s difficult to do that in religion, at least for some folks, because we are really reluctant to let go of obsolete dogma. I recently quoted a portion of a sermon delivered by John MacArthur in which he said:

When Jesus came, everything changed, everything changed.… He didn’t just want to clean up the people’s attitudes as they gave their sacrifices, He obliterated the sacrificial system because He brought an end to Judaism with all its ceremonies, all its rituals, all its sacrifices, all of its external trappings, the Temple, the Holy of Holies, all of it.

I believe MacArthur to be sincere, well-educated, and very intelligent, but he is definitely “old school” and I suspect highly resistant to re-examining any of the evidence and conclusions regarding what Paul said, why he said it, and what it all really means (to the best of our ability to arrive at “really means”).

It would be the moral equivalent of MacArthur, if he were an astronomer, ignoring the pesky mystery of the “Strange, Hypervelocity Stars Get Ejected from the Milky Way” or somehow explaining that what we appear to plainly see in our observations must be wrong because it disagrees with established scientific “canon”.

What does all this mean for Derek and Gene’s discussion of the past few days, and how Christianity and Judaism have been banging heads over who and what Jesus is for many, many centuries?

As one of my quotes from Herbert’s aforementioned book states, we can still put together “wrong combinations from accurate information.” The universe is the universe and the Bible is the Bible. General and specific revelation are available to all of us and they’ve been available for a long time. The universe changes slowly and the Bible changes not at all, and yet we argue and argue and argue over what they both mean and how someone must be right and everyone else must be wrong.

According to the gospels, a veil was torn when Yeshua breathed His last upon the cross. Scripture says, “And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38) The tearing of the veil is often wrongly understood as a sign that the old covenant, the Torah and the Temple system were all rendered defunct by the cross.

-from “Thought of the Week”
Commentary on Torah Portion Terumah
First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

John 14:6 (NASB)

We were studying the lives of King Saul and King David in Sunday school last week (“a man after God’s own heart”) and the teacher said something I found odd. He said the fact that God took His Spirit away from Saul did not necessarily mean Saul lost his salvation. It depended on how Saul was in relation to the Messiah; to Jesus.

MessiahI know that a lot of Christians have to retrofit John 14:6 into the ancient Hebrew Scriptures in order to make the Christian concept of “salvation” work, but it’s completely anachronistic. There is nothing wrong with Saul, David, or any of the other Hebrews or even Gentiles of those days being wholly devoted to the God of Israel and Him only.

Jesus did something new (though not what most Christians think) and revolutionary. First of all, he gave the entire world access to God without Gentiles having to enter into the Sinai covenant by converting to Judaism. I got what I’m about to say next from a comment made on my blog, but let’s think of Jesus as a doorway. When we open the door and walk through, what do we find inside but God. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (emph. mine)

This doesn’t negate the vital role of Messiah and his mysterious and even mystic relationship to Hashem and God’s Spirit, all somehow Echad (and I don’t believe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are just identical and interchangeable components like so many spark plugs), but it does maintain a continual Biblical focus on the God of Heaven from Genesis, through the apostolic period, and beyond.

The FFOZ commentary continues:

According to the gospels, a veil was torn when Yeshua breathed His last upon the cross. Scripture says, “And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38) The tearing of the veil is often wrongly understood as a sign that the old covenant, the Torah and the Temple system were all rendered defunct by the cross.

In the book of Hebrews (10:19–20) we are told that the veil symbolized Messiah’s body. He is the veil. Just as the life was rent from His body, so too the curtain was rent with the result that we might have access to the most holy place through Him. This is not the same as abrogating the Temple worship system; rather, it is a vivid dramatization of what the death of Messiah accomplished: access to God.

Embroidered upon the veil were two cherubim. The cherubim invoke the imagery of the Garden of Eden and the way to the tree of life, as the Torah says in Genesis 3:24, “And at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” The cherubim on the veil stood sentry in front of the Holy of Holies like the two cherubim that guard the way to the tree of life (immortality) and the Garden of Eden (paradise). As the curtain was rent into two pieces, a way between the cherubim was created.

We learn something new every day. I just did.

I’m not going to debate a “right or wrong” relative to Derek and Gene. I am going to say that just because someone zealously maintains a firm conviction in something doesn’t necessarily make that “something” factual. There are many mysteries left in the universe and many mysteries left in the Bible and in God. I happen to believe the “New Perspective on Paul” as related to the “Messianic Jewish” approach (and I realize that there are a ton of variations within those two general categories of study and knowledge) is the right way to go to re-evaluate all of the old assumptions which were based on some pretty bad motivations.

Discussions such as the one between Derek and Gene are, in my opinion, necessary, as long as they can be conducted without personalizing conflict, because they act as a crucible in which we can burn away many of the flaws in our beliefs and at least allow ourselves to question the “assumptions (that) are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.”

“A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.”

-Jean de la Fontaine, French writer and poet


12 thoughts on “Precious Assumptions”

  1. Of course, this final observation will never happen. By definition, no one is sitting outside the universe waiting to observe the final outcome at the end of time. And even if the idea of observers waiting outside the universe made sense – which it doesn’t – on this view their final observations still wouldn’t allow them to say anything about what happened between the Big Bang and the end of time. We end up concluding that quantum theory doesn’t allow us to justify making any scientific statement at all about the past, present or future. Our most fundamental scientific theory turns out to be a threat to the whole enterprise of science. For these and related reasons, the Copenhagen interpretation gradually fell out of general favour.

    -Adrian Kent
    “Our quantum reality problem” or
    “When the deepest theory we have seems to undermine science itself, some kind of collapse looks inevitable” (6400 word article, and I thought I wrote a lot)
    aeon magazine

    This is a small part of an article discussing the history and different theories of conceptualizing quantum mechanics. Einstein, at best, thought quantum mechanics was an incomplete theory, but based on the quote above, I think it has possibilities.

    In my comparison between observing the universe (astronomy, in this case) and “observing” the Bible, I was using a more classical physical approach, a universe where two plus two always equals four in a very predictable way. If you have the patience to read through all of Kent’s article (no, I didn’t understand everything, either) it will probably look like quantum mechanics is a story being made up by a crazy person on the fly…except that it’s the only way to explain certain things, while at the same time, creating lot of new problems.

    But my “theory,” assuming any part of what these scientists say about quantum mechanics, is that this is what we experience when we reach the limits of what we poor, finite human beings can conceptualize about a universe made by an infinite and ultimately unknowable God. All of our “laws” start to break down and the universe begins to look like nonsense.

    It reminds me of the other story I just read about what happens when a player in the game of Minecraft attempts to travel to the edge of the Minecraft world. The game designer made the game world to be nearly infinite, but it can’t literally be so. As a player moves further away from the game’s center, the game environment becomes increasingly more “buggy.”

    But real life isn’t supposed to work like a computer program (or is it?).

    I’m only inserting all this in here to inject a little “reality” into all our discussions and arguments which attempt to solve the nature of God (trinity, Godhead, and so forth). Looking at the bizarro discussions various scientists get into in debating the problems in quantum mechanics, it’s the height of hubris to imagine that we can study the Bible, even for years, and expect to know the unknowable to such a degree of certainty that we can make the goofy statements we make about who God is, how many “parts” He has, and what those parts look and act like.

    1. James, I appreciated very much your link to the Adrian Kent article. It took awhile for it to reach what I consider a particularly significant perspective, which might be compared to the old saying that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”. It is effectively the engineering viewpoint that reduces the theoretical to the practical — in other words, if you can build useful devices based on the theoretical implications, then the theory has merit. The “collapse” QM models he cited similarly attempt to inject a note of practical reality into the theory as a means to bring it into conformity with “what is”.

      In other respects, the wrangling over such theories reminds me of the history preceding Copernicus’ and Kepler’s heliocentric view of the locally observed astronomy. The complex mathematics required to support a geocentric view, and their inability to explain the motion of the “wandering star” planets, provided justification to find the simpler, more accurate, view. The wrangling at that time, of course, also included the political interference of the Church as well as persecutions thereby; but the current scientific establishment has its own means to persecute those who deviate from the prevailing philosophy (or religion) of science.

      Allow me to re-emphasize here that the problem is not logic or science or the scientific method, but rather the philosophical assumptions that are used to produce a variety of theoretical explanations. Assumptions about particular initial conditions of matter or of energy states, about the linearity or non-linearity of time and space and rates of radioisotope decay, and about the uniformity of random natural causes in a closed system, all contribute to a host of arguments and persecutions without regard to any difference in the actual data of observations. This is why both young-earth and old-earth views both claim to address the same physical data, albeit from very different perspectives. Young-earth views, or at least the most credible of them, claim, however, to integrate also the “revealed data” found in scriptural statements representing Another Observer’s view, allowing it to influence the selection that must be made between various elements of theoretical models.

      I tend to favor the practical engineering perspective in selecting theoretical or philosophical models for best validity. I find it consistent with the long-standing Jewish view that does not concern itself with such matters as how many angels might dance on a pinhead or what will heaven be like, but rather concerns itself with the practical matters of the present and how Jews may live in best conformity with Torah. The rest will be made clear to us when the Messiah rules; and if we can clarify any aspects of it in the meantime, so much the better. As Rav Yeshua advised: “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and HaShem’s righteousness, then all else that you seek will be provided.” (Mt.6:33) He had already described, as reported in Mt.5:19-20, the role of Torah in the pursuit of entry into, and greatness within, this kingdom of heaven.

  2. I’ve come to the conclusion that traditional apologetics is practically useless when talking with atheists/agnostics, as you don’t have an information problem; you have a heart problem. I came across a blog post where the author posited that atheists were akin to jilted lovers, and I think I need to write a follow-up post to my last article on atheism and call it, “Heaven’s Jilted Lovers.”

    Logic is not useless, as it can demonstrate whether an argument is flawed and inconsistent within itself, or sound. But logic does not = truth, nor does it always lead to good. “Logical,” ancient Greece murdered Jews because they refused to conform, has a massive slave underclass because it benefited the economy and put undesired infants out to be exposed – all logical.

    The age of the earth is not important to me, but it is to those who make their living via fear-mongering on this issue. I doubt if you can find a Hebrew scholar who will tell you that it is possible to prove a young earth from scripture. As an aside, we don’t know what the laws of science looked like prior to corruption. I would argue with Tzvi Freeman that the thrust of science today explores God’s creation without honoring him, even suppressing the glory that is so apparent to them.

    Usually when serious problems occur in the religious marketplace, the response is damage control. So many are dependent upon the system and its customers for their economic and social well-being, that they can’t allow their corner of the market to go down or be diminished in status and share. The right thing to do would be to explore what factors led to things going wrong, and initiate changes to prevent further occurrences, rather than treat it as an anomaly and shove it under the rug. Red flags as to a person’s character and maturity are usually ignored if that person is popular and a talented communicator.

  3. Parts of Psalm 19 make it especially clear that the observable universe (not just stars and galaxies, but the natural world in general) are evidence of the existence of God, so I wouldn’t count the sciences out yet. Also, since a number of sciences including astronomy, geology, archeology, and paleontology all address the age of things (the universe, the earth, ancient civilizations, ancient life forms), we can hardly ignore that issue as well, since if the evidence “lies” to us, then we can’t really trust nature to tell us about God.

    A number of religious people treat science as the enemy of faith since it is often used to refute creation, but I’ve heard a number of people, particularly in the medical field, that say their knowledge of the sciences confirms rather than denies their faith.

    Also, referring to my commentary on quantum mechanics above, I think finding that the way we can understand the universe comes up with some pretty screwy results is evidence (at least as far as I’m concerned) that human beings can reach a limit in our understanding of the universe where what we think of as “natural laws” break down and the hand of a truly incomprehensive God is revealed.

  4. I don’t believe that science is an enemy of God, but many scientists certainly are, as they approach the evidence with denigration rather than awe, their foolish minds darkened.

  5. I don’t know of any YEC’s who, as you mentioned, use “outside,” information to decide between theories, know Hebrew. I assume their claims are validated by ministers who took two semesters each of Hebrew and Greek in their divinity program. The blind leading the blind. The most honest YEC, and perhaps the only one, is Dr. Wile, who admitted to me that he contacted several credible Hebrew scholars, and none will say that one can determine a young earth viewpoint from scripture.

    1. Hi, Chaya — As a Hebrew reader (who also incidentally has done some Greek translation), let me say that Young Earth Creationism is not dependent on minor points of translation. As a professional engineer, which is to say someone who was thoroughly schooled in the practical physical sciences, let me say that there exists evidence to demonstrate that natural processes exist which allow the possibility of the present observed universe, including planet earth, to have been formed to its present condition within thousands of years rather than billions.

      One does not prove a scientific hypothesis from a scriptural passage, no matter how well translated, though one may find intriguing hints therein. For example, consider the length of days in Gen.1. Since green plants, created on the third day, require light for photosynthetic processes to survive and thrive, and as of the fourth day that light was clearly sunlight alternating with darkness, then too long a period of nighttime darkness would have killed all the green plants. Hence the days had to be reasonably comparable in length to our present ones and not thousands of years long. The first and second days were not subject to such a limitation of duration, and nothing in the text requires all the days to have been identical in duration, but if HaShem was performing the tremendously complex developmental operations described later in the week within such a short day-night timeframe, why not the initial ones as well? Of course, one might say that the entire creation summary was conceptual and poetic and legendary, hence the day-night imagery should not be viewed so practically or literally, but then we are faced with questions about why it bothers at all to address the degree of physical detail that it does.

      Given that YEC is not impossible, and actually fits the scriptural account better than older traditional scientific theories of planetary origin and age, I suggest that we should not dismiss it out of hand but rather we should demand that it defend its hypotheses just as any other science must do. My own limited exposure to it has been to those who are trying to do exactly that; and they can point to some intriguing data that supports their view and which is not well-explained by their detractors. I recommend continued observation.

  6. Many good points. Regarding the tearing the the temple veil, I do think that it symbolizes access to God, according the meaning taken from Hebrews.

    However, In Hebrews 8, we read that Christ our High Priest enacted a new covenant:

    “6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, by as much as He is also the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
    7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.”

    Then, after reciting the prophecy of the new covenant from Jeremiah 31, he says this in verse 13:

    “When He said, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.”

    What does it mean that the first is obsolete?

    I think that the tearing of the veil does signify an end to some aspects of the law. Specifically, the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement — the one day that the earthly high priest would enter that veil to sprinkle sacrificial blood on the mercy seat.

    Christ’s sacrifice, in his role as our High Priest, was the one true atonement sacrifice that once and for all renders all other sacrifices obsolete. After all, those other sacrifices were merely fore-shadowing the sacrifice that Christ would offer (Hebrews 10:1-10).

  7. Jerry, since this is just the second of a long (30+) lecture/sermon series, it’s quite possible Lancaster addresses your questions, but I just haven’t gotten that far yet.

    When my Pastor raises that question, my thought is that it says the old one is “passing” away, not “it has passed” away as if it’s all said and done.

    Jesus said that not one jot or tittle of the Torah would pass away until heaven and earth pass away. Now assuming we get a new heaven and new earth someday, then I suppose on that occasion, the old covenant will pass away, but we’re not there yet.

    Also, in the relevant sections of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as I read them, the New Covenant doesn’t actually change any of the content of the old, it just reaffirms and strengthens those conditions in the new covenant. One key element of the new covenant, is that stony hearts are replaced with fleshy ones, and we are given a new spirit and we will all KNOW God.

    I don’t see this as a completed action in our day and believe it will not be fully enacted until the second coming of Messiah and the establishment of his Kingdom on earth.

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